Birria Tacos are easier than you might think to make with this crazy delicious homemade adobo sauce. While this Birria Tacos recipe does take some time, it is so worth every minute for enjoying the most juicy, tender, and incredibly flavorful Birria beef shredded tacos - plus, it's great for making ahead and freezing.
Although traditional Birria Tacos (Tacos de Birria) are made with hard-to-find goat meat or more expensive lamb meat, my easy Birria Tacos recipe uses quality beef. My experience has been that the chuck roast and beef short ribs add depth of flavor and succulence.
🥘 What You Will Need To Make Birria Tacos
- A heavy skillet for making the adobo sauce.
- A Dutch oven or other deep oven-safe dish for cooking the beef Birria.
- Ingredients for homemade adobo sauce. You'll need guajllio and ancho chiles, canned crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and spices: black peppercorns, dried Mexican oregano, fresh thyme leaves, and ground cumin.
- Ingredients for our Birria Tacos recipe. Both boneless chuck roast and beef short ribs, plus kosher salt, whole cloves, bay leaves, a cinnamon stick (optional, but recommended for great spicy flavor), and chicken broth.
- Birria beef shredded tacos ingredients. Vegetable oil, corn tortillas, fresh chopped onion and cilantro, plus limes cut into wedges.
🍳 How to Make Adobo
First, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat and add guajillo and ancho chiles to the skillet. Stir continuously as you cook them for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside.
In a large saucepan over high heat, add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Transfer the chilies to the water and then immediately remove from the heat. Let the chilies soak in the water for about 7 minutes, until soft.
Once softened, drain the chiles and discard the water. Holding the tip of the chiles, snip off the stem and scrape out the seeds. Discard the seeds and stem, and set the cooked and cleaned chilies aside.
Use a paper towel to wipe the large skillet dry before adding 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and heating until shimmering. Then add the tomatoes, onions and garlic, and cook while stirring frequently. After the onions and garlic are lightly browned, add peppercorns, oregano and thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, for several minutes or until the flavors are melded. Let cool slightly.
Transfer the cooled mixture to the blender along with the chiles. Add the cumin, apple cider vinegar and 2 cups cold water. Blend for about a minute or until perfectly smooth. Use a sieve to strain mixture and reserve the sauce for making Birria tacos.
🔪 How to Make Birria
When you're ready to prepare Tacos de Birria, follow these simple steps:
- Begin by preheating the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and remove the marinated beef from the fridge.
- Transfer the adobo-coated chuck roast and ribs to a Dutch oven. Heat on the stovetop on medium heat, and add broth, bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Stir as you bring to a simmer.
- Once simmering, transfer the Dutch oven to the preheated oven and cook for 4 hours. Be sure to check after 2 hours, however, and add more water if needed to keep the beef Birria from drying out.
- When the beef for your Birria tacos is fork-tender, remove from the oven and discard the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and bay leaves. Move the roast and ribs to a clean work surface, and use two forks to shred the meat. Then return back to the Dutch oven, and stir the beef back into the adobo sauce. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes to really get that wonderful melt-in-your-mouth texture that is the hallmark of tacos de Birria. Discard the fat and bones before serving.
🍚 What To Serve With Birria Tacos
📋 Birria Taco Recipe
- 6 large dried guajillo chiles
- 2 ancho chiles
- 8 cups water divided
- 1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 large onion, cut into 12 wedges
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 pounds boneless chuck roast
- 2 pounds beef short ribs, bone-in
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick optional
- 4 cups no salt added chicken broth
- Vegetable oil
- 16 corn tortillas see Tip
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 limes cut into wedges
- Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add guajillo and ancho chiles to the skillet; cook, stirring continuously, 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan over high heat, add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Transfer the chilies to the water and remove from the heat. Let stand 7 minutes or until the chiles are softened.
- Drain chiles and discard water. Hold the tip of the chiles and snip off the stem. Scrap out the seeds. Discard seeds and stem. Add chiles to a blender. Set aside.
- Using a paper towel, wipe the large skillet dry. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the tomatoes, onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions and garlic are lightly browned. Add peppercorns, oregano and thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, 9 minutes or until the flavors are melded. Let cool slightly.
- Transfer mixture to the blender with the chiles. Add the cumin, apple cider vinegar and 2 cups cold water. Blend about 1 minute or until smooth. Strain mixture, reserving the sauce.
- Arrange chuck roast and short ribs in a large nonreactive casserole dish. Season all over with the salt. Pour adobo sauce over the meat and turn to coat with the sauce. Cover tightly and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 2 days.
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Transfer adobo and beef mixture to a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick (if using) and chicken broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until simmering, Cover and bake 4 hours or until meat is tender. Check stew after 2 hours, adding more water as needed. Discard cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
- Transfer chuck roast and short ribs to a work surface. Using 2 forks, shred beef and return to sauce. Simmer 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Discard bones and excess fat.
- In a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, coat bottom surface lightly with oil.
- Using tongs, dip 1 tortilla in broth and add to the skillet. Repeat with 1 to 2 more tortillas or as many tortillas will fit without overlapping. Add about ¼ cup meat on one-half of each tortilla. Cook, 1 to 2 minutes or until tacos are lightly browned and crisp. Fold tortillas in half and gently press together with a spatula. Transfer to a serving plate. Repeat with remaining tacos and filling. (see Tip)
- Sprinkle tacos with onions and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges. Ladle adobo broth into serving bowls for dipping.